Brooklyn Nets: Player grades from demolition of Kings

Brooklyn Nets D'Angelo Russell. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets D'Angelo Russell. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets D’Angelo Russell. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets made quick work of the Sacramento Kings in the 2nd half Monday, doubling up the Kings en route to a 123-94 victory after trailing at half.

After struggling to contend with the speed of the Sacramento Kings in the first half, the Brooklyn Nets pushed the right buttons in the locker room and systematically demolished the Kings after the break en route to their largest win of the season, a 123-94 blowout Monday at Barclays Center.

The Nets (25-23) outscored the Kings (24-23) 68-34 in the second half, the third-largest second-half differential in franchise history and the fourth-largest differential in any half since the Nets came to the NBA in 1976.

If was their most lopsided half since outscoring the Washington Wizards 72-33 in the first half on Jan. 16, 2002, and their biggest second-half margin since an 82-42 edge over the Detroit Pistons on March 9, 1980.

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The franchise record margin for a half is 44 points, set on Feb. 14, 1980, in a win over the Utah Jazz, when New Jersey outscored Utah 79-35.

The overall margin of 29 points was Brooklyn’s largest since a 143-114 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Jan. 20, 2017. Their previous largest margin of victory this season had been 25 in a 122-97 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Nov. 4.

After surrendering 60 points in the first half and 37 in the second quarter, the Nets clamped down on Sacramento after the break, allowing just 34 points in the second half and holding the Kings to just nine points in the final period.

Sacramento came into the game seventh in the NBA, averaging 114.0 points per game, and Monday’s performance was their second-lowest scoring game of the season. It was just the seventh time in 48 games the Nets have held an opponent below 100 points this season.

Brooklyn baffled the young Kings with switching defensive looks in the second half, liberally flipping between man looks and zone approaches that Sacramento never got comfortable recognizing.

And as the deficit mounted, the Kings began to panic. The team with the second-fastest pace of play in the NBA stopped looking for open shooters and began to just go one-on-everybody in an vain effort to hurry a comeback along.

Brooklyn would up shooting 50 percent (45-for-90) on the day and hit 13-of-35 (37.1 percent) at the foul line. Their aggressive penetration into the lane led to both a 62-46 advantage in points in the paint and a 24-11 gap in free throw attempts.

The win was the fourth in a row for the Nets and improved their record this month to 8-2, tied with the Toronto Raptors for the third-best mark in the NBA this month. Only the Golden State Warriors (8-1) and Milwaukee Bucks (9-2) have been better.

With Monday’s win, the Nets are 4½ games behind the fifth-place Boston Celtics (29-18) in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics kept pace with a 107-99 win at home over the Miami Heat (22-23). who fell to 1½ games behind Brooklyn in seventh place.

The Charlotte Hornets (22-24) were idle Monday and are in eighth place, now two games behind the Nets. The Detroit Pistons lost to the Washington Wizards 101-87 on Monday, moving both teams into a tie for ninth at 20-26, while the Orlando Magic remained 11th at 20-27 after beating the Atlanta Hawks 122-103 on Monday.

Here are the player grades from Brooklyn’s blasting of the Kings.